Central Coast coach Paul Okon says his side are prepared for a fiery encounter against the Jets heading into this season's first F3 Derby.
For the first time in Hyundai A-League history a Central Coast Mariners Membership will grant access to an away venue which will fuel a great travelling contingent of Yellow & Navy to McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday.
After knocking off the reigning Hyundai A-League Champions in Adelaide, the Mariners failed to continue momentum last week in Canberra but have the perfect opportunity looming in the form of #F3Derby success.
Over the club’s history the Central Coast Mariners have the wood over the Newcastle Jets who have played out 38 fixtures. The Mariners boast 13 wins to Newcastle’s 11 with 14 draws between two sides.
And in an intriguing sub-plot, when Newcastle Jet's Head Coach Mark Jones started at the Jets as an assistant coach 10 years ago the club was captained by one Paul Okon.
Newcastle are coming off the back of a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Melbourne City where captain, Nigel Boogaard made an exit through injury and will not feature today. On Friday morning the Newcastle Jets announced the signing of 34-year-old defender, Iain Fyfe as an injury replacement to suffice for the absent Boogaard, Daniel Mullen, Daniel Alessi and Lachlan Jackson.
The Central Coast Mariners will be without experienced defender, Jacques Faty but have added Harry Ascroft to the provisional squad for the first time this season after sufering a groin injury during pre-season.
Central Coast Mariners Head Coach, Paul Okon is calling on the travelling support of the Yellow & Navy to help get his side across the line.
“We’ve had a good solid week of training,” Okon said. “We’re looking forward to it, it’s a derby so this match is extra special and we hope to make sure we perform for our travelling fans who come and support us.
“The #F3Derby means a lot. Over the last couple of years it probably hasn’t been the derby that it has been previously but hopefully Sunday is a taste of what’s to come.
“The initiative where a club Membership of either side of the fence gets you into the derby is massive and we want to get the feeling and atmosphere back into it.
“It’s still early, Newcastle have a new coach and it will take time for his playing style to get across. They’re a good team and they have some really fast players in attack and an experienced midfield in Wayne Brown and Mateo Poljak who do a good job.
“At the moment if you’re going to look at results or where a team sits on the ladder I think you’re flirting with danger there. It’s a derby, we expect a fierce rival and that’s what we want. We want it to be a tough game but we are confident we can get the job done.
“I don’t think any of our goals have come from opposition mistakes, they have all come from things we’ve worked on during the week so we’re going to continue with our football which we want to translate into results as soon as possible.
“It’s not our home game but hopefully we will see a sea of yellow in Newcastle, for us it’s an added incentive, it is extra motivation to perform and reward those people who are going to give their time up on a Sunday afternoon to watch us play.
“For us Sunday is a game that we want to win and we will do everything we can to win.
“The derby is for the players as well [as the fans], it’s the players job to fight regardless whether it’s a derby or not but I think everyone understand why we have so many supporters travelling.
“Our supporters want us to win against Newcastle and hopefully our players rise to the occasion,” Okon said.